Jared Sibbit has already been in Haiti twice in 2006 and 2011. However, volunteering with Haiti
Air Ambulance as part of the HAA volunteering program, makes him fell more useful to the
country. After trying many other fields, he has set his sights on medical field.
Haiti Air Ambulance: Can you introduce yourself with all the possible details (family,
hobbies, background, and so on…)?
Jared Sibbitt: My name is Jared Sibbitt, and I am a flight nurse from Bigfork, Montana. My
wife is also a nurse, and we have two young sons, and together we enjoy traveling and exploring
HAA: Can you tell us more about your meeting with medical field and why have you
chosen to do career?
J. S.: I came late to becoming a nurse, having tried many other lines of work previously:
firefighter, bar tender, teacher, outdoor guide, and plenty of others. After volunteering in Sri
Lanka from the tsunami in 2004, I felt a need to develop more professional skills that would
actually be helpful to people. After a great deal of thought, I chose nursing, and remembering the
example of a flight nurse who had been an instructor of mine, I pursued flight from the
beginning. It only took me 10 years to accomplish that goal!
HAA: It is your third trip to Haiti, tell us about your emotion that time and the difference
between the previous ones?
J. S.: On one hand, it was nice being back in a familiar place, and Port-au-Prince looks much
better now than it did when I was last here in 2011. At that time the devastation from the
earthquake and cholera were the big problems, compared to when I was here in 2006 during the
UN occupation and elections…at that time political turmoil felt like the big issue. These days, it
feels like progress and improvement is made in some areas in small ways, but then new and old
problems come back up again…I still have friends in Haiti from 16 years ago and I worry about
them and their families and worry about the future of the country, even as I am so inspired and
filled with hope to see the new kinds of work being done here. In the old days, charitable
organizations from the US, Canada, France would come in for a little while with a bunch of
money and try and change things. Nowadays, groups like HAA aren’t trying to buy change,
instead they are investing in the future of Haiti by building human infrastructure, increasing the
capacity of Haitians to do good things for themselves and their communities without relying
exclusively on foreign aid. That is exciting to see.
HAA: What differences have you made between flying in the US and in Haiti in terms of
LZ, types of patients, treatment providing during a flight and delivery process?
J. S.: Well, I was surprised at how busy HAA is, pretty much flying all day while I was here
when we were operational. And it is a daylight only operation, which was different for me. A
few differences in protocols, simply because of the different patient and receiving facilities,
especially regarding airway management. Tetanus prophylaxis, clot busters for
STEMI…Otherwise, I was struck more by how much there is in common flying in Haiti vs flying
back home. Perhaps it is because my home program is in rural Montana, but much of the issues
with LZ security, tiny referring facilities, incomplete dispatch information, these seem to be
universal issues everywhere, and it actually made me feel better realizing how much our
programs have in common.
HAA: Can you share your level of satisfaction during your stay regarding your expectation
J. S.: I knew a few people who had flown with HAA before I came down, so I had some idea
what to expect. That said, it was easy, just show up, go with the flow, and be ready to work! I
have nothing to complain about.
HAA: Why would you come back to volunteer with HAA again?
J. S.: I would like to come back for a couple of reasons: it is exciting to see the hope for a
brighter future for Haiti evolve and you just can’t get that some feeling and perspective from
back home, no matter how much you watch the news. Also, even though much of the flying and
medical care is similar to what I do at home, there is the possibility of seeing and treating patient
types that I just don’t get very often, or at all, back home and that helps me grow as a
professional and keeps the work interesting.